What should a newbie start with?

StephanieRose44

Songster
Nov 27, 2018
249
293
137
Fishkill NY
Start with chicks ! You said you were keeping them as pets and for eggs... you create a deeper and special bond raising them from day old chicks. ⚠I wouldn’t gamble on getting pullets and have them already conditioned to be skittish if humans.
The breeds you should get depends on whether or not you like variety. A variety of feathers patterns, egg colors, personalities etc. comes along with getting a variety of different breeds. This is what I did I got 12 2 of each breed (DONT GET 12! Get at the most 6. My personal favorites that I would suggest for a starter flick would be Sapphire Gems - such a great all around breed super friendly and EXTREMELY smart, lays extra large Light tab/cream colored eggs day after day. Easer Eggers just because there so interesting! Blue/green eggs, plus they’re coloring varies greatly from one to the next. Sweet tempered birds. White leghorns aren’t cuddly pick me up or pet me birds they’re considered “flighty. Which mean they can fly over fences higher than most standard chickens. They are entertaining to watch though If you want a bird that can take care of itself, that bird that’swalking around in the background doing his own thing PLUS you still want white eggs in the mix get a leghorn! If you want a beautiful chicken get a Wyandotte Golden laced/Silver etc there all stunning. Friendly but doesn’t get too close with humans. But the view! If you don’t care about the view as much but care about what’s inside (that’s what’s important) than get a Black Star or Black sex Link!
 

bobhoke

Songster
5 Years
Aug 23, 2014
191
61
157
Northern Lower Peninsula (NLP) Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I did a lot of reading but with so much information out there i just seem to get more confused instead of informed. My question is: should i start with chicks, pullets or adult hens? These will be pets and egg layers. Next question is how many (I originally was thinking 8-10) My coop, being built now, will be 4'x8' and the run 8'x20'.


Be careful what you read here due to the law of garbage in = garbage out regarding info consumption.

Remember to keep it simple. Novice informed owner + new coop = seven hens and one rooster, which are chicks. If you want the why’s ask. I’ll answer.

1. Shelter / Security 360 degrees
2. Food and water daily
3. Hygiene weekly

They’ll behave like chickens and lay eggs.

Good luck - we all need it!
 
Last edited:

ReliezFarm

Chirping
Nov 23, 2016
15
14
64
Welcome to the community!
Chickens are very social and you never want to have just one. With that size coop I would start with four pullets, since they are ready to go and still young enough to shape their personality. You also still might end up with a rooster or two so be prepared to know what you're going to do with them. Many communities don't allow roosters in residential areas. We have a local farm that is roosters only and she takes all of the roosters for a food donation. They don't fight because there's no hands to squabble about. She says they keep her horse barn and hay free from any pests including mice and rats. You'll be surprised what chickens will eat but anything that moves is fair game. They are after all carnivores and prehistoric.
You will need to find out what the Predator situation is in your neighborhood. And make sure your chicken area is reinforced more protected. You can't protect from everything when free-ranging which I believe is the best thing for chickens. You will get flying Predators like Hawks and owls that come for a tasty morsel especially when you have younger birds.
Many people here recommended mixed ages but I find that to be an advanced topic. I can't tell you how brutal chickens can be with each other , pecking each other to death. Whenever I introduce younger chicks to the flock I have to keep them isolated for a Time. If they are in close quarters like the coop the big birds will corner the weaker ones and try to kill them.
My Coupe is also about 4 by 8 and I have it partitioned so I can actually isolate birds if needed.

Good luck and have fun
 

NSKDodge

Chirping
Oct 24, 2019
13
69
59
I did a lot of reading but with so much information out there i just seem to get more confused instead of informed. My question is: should i start with chicks, pullets or adult hens? These will be pets and egg layers. Next question is how many (I originally was thinking 8-10) My coop, being built now, will be 4'x8' and the run 8'x20'.
To me- you should 100% hands down get chicks. It’s a great experience and the right way to start if these birds are going to be your pets, why wouldn’t you want to watch them grow and create bonds from the very beginning? I personally grew up w chickens and the chicks were always the best part! I am now starting my own flock and have 15 chicks coming in March but I also have purchased 1 roo, 3 hens, 2 pullets to start off with and although I am with them every day, they are not as tame as I would personally like... but they’re still pretty fabulous!
I’d say your 8-15 number sounds good... I’d recommend keeping it on the lower end... and don’t stress it! People are big on not over crowding but as long as you keep it clean and give your birds stuff to do, they’ll be happy. Chickens for Dummies will tell you: “The minimum rule of thumb is about 2 to 3 square feet per chicken inside the chicken coop, and 8 to 10 square feet per chicken in an outside run. More square footage is better. Skimping on space requirements for a flock of chickens can cause stress, cannibalism, pecking, and sometimes even death.”
Just make sure your fencing is dug into the ground and your enclosure is well protected- hardware cloth is best, thicken wire too thin, if a raccoon can reach its hand through and grab a chicken, it will.
 
Last edited:

Cookncluck

Chirping
5 Years
Oct 24, 2014
14
17
82
Metter, Georgia
Please start with one comprehensive book that will be your go-to for information. The one I rely on is ‘Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens.’ A reliable book like this one will answer this question for you, plus it will probably save you money and heartache by solving problems before they happen.
 

elmo

Crowing
10 Years
May 23, 2009
4,898
210
306
DFW
If you would like longer lived pets, consider bantams. Our flock is now 11-12 years old, and we have only lost one of our original hens to an egg laying disorder last year.

Bantam eggs are smaller, of course. But each our hens in their early years produced 5-6 eggs a week year round, which was way more eggs than we could use ourselves, and we had plenty to give away. Now in their golden years, they have stopped laying except for in the spring.

But they are all our good old friends, and we still enjoy watching the "chicken soap opera" that we have been watching for more than a decade now.
 

Thomas Pasker

In the Brooder
May 28, 2017
6
2
26
I got mine started from chicks I got at tractor supply. They are Isa browns. Got 8 thinking some would die, but all made it. I get 8 eggs a day like clockwork. The coop is only 4x4 with a big run, and they get to free range every day. Fun to watch em chase bugs and what not.
I was told that mixed ages isn't a good idea as the adults can kill the younger ones. Took 4-5 months to get eggs, but 2 years later they are all well. Chick crumble till gone, about 50lbs, then layer feed, and any scraps from the kitchen. Veggies, meat, even fried eggs when too many not sold. We dry the egg shells and grind them up, put back in the feed or added to the scraps. Helps with the shells staying thick
 

mllebez

In the Brooder
Jun 2, 2017
2
1
20
I did a lot of reading but with so much information out there i just seem to get more confused instead of informed. My question is: should i start with chicks, pullets or adult hens? These will be pets and egg layers. Next question is how many (I originally was thinking 8-10) My coop, being built now, will be 4'x8' and the run 8'x20'.
Welcome!
I was really intimidated and did tons of research before I started! BYC has been a great resource over the last 3 years I have kept chickens.
If you have time and space to dedicate to chicks, I would say start with them. I got 7 chicks of mixed breed knowing that I would give 2 away (due to city regulations) if they all survived once they got to pullet age. It was fun, a little messy, and surprisingly noisy to start with day old chicks but not as scary or hard as I anticipated. It was great to watch them grow and develop personalities. The only issue was one turned out to be a roo and I had to get rid of him. Know that no matter the breed, no matter the love, no matter the environment, some chickens will die unexpectedly. Thankfully, you will always find wonderful new breeds that you will want to take home. I am hoping to add some new chickens to my flock this year, and due to time/space limitations, I will go with pullets for this round.
Whatever route you decide, I hope you have great experience and lots of fun!
 

PhillyDelcoChix

Songster
Jan 8, 2020
102
388
106
Springfield PA
I did a lot of reading but with so much information out there i just seem to get more confused instead of informed. My question is: should i start with chicks, pullets or adult hens? These will be pets and egg layers. Next question is how many (I originally was thinking 8-10) My coop, being built now, will be 4'x8' and the run 8'x20'.
Chicks!!!!
It’s so fun and you’ve never seen anything as cute as colorful teeny tiny peeping chicks. They learn to be more family and person friendly when you raise them from young. It’s so fun watching them grow and change.
I have 8, about 8 weeks old now, originally wanting 4 but was told to get more in case of the unfortunate loss early on or in transit. But my chicks were healthy and we kept up after them and still have 8.
Just my opinion, not an expert by any means, just the first experience I wanted when beginning to raise chicks.
 
Top Bottom